The air was dangerous on Day 5, with alerts and alarms for sufferers of asthma, COPD, and other breathing disorders. I knew it was coming Monday night when I drove home from writing group, kept thinking about that commercial where the elephant sits on the woman’s chest. I like that elephant. I like that he follows the woman around after she gets whatever the chemical is that makes her breathe easier. That doesn’t mean I like having asthma or the feel of a ton of flesh sitting on my chest.
So I stayed in. Really in. I wrote a little, cleaned some, worked on my calendar, answered some long overdue email, and wished I could be outside. Murphy was delighted to have me within reach, despite the chance that I might drop to the floor, slip a plastic cone over her head, and wiggle her stiff old legs. Gordo was pleased because he could graze in peace with no one chasing him across the lawn. And I have to admit that I was a tad pleased to sit with the beginning pages of Elizabeth Warren’s book.
I spent all day, and part of the evening, in The Cellar. The carpet cleaners came at 1:00 o’clock. Due to some unwise planning on somebody’s part, the major traffic pattern in our house is carpeted. The rest, where nobody walks much, is hardwood. We would have preferred hardwood everywhere, but the carpet had just been installed when we moved in, and we wanted to get the good out of it. (I think “get the good out of it” might be another Southernism.)
About 3:00 o’clock, a dear, dear friend called to ask if she could stop by. She was on the opposite side of Nashville, shopping at Opry Mills. It took Maggie a long time to get across town. The traffic was atrocious. When she drove up, I waved her in for big hugs. And she brought a birthday present. The card has a queen cat on the cover who said, “Why celebrate your birthday on just one day?” Inside, it said, “We all love celebrating your birthday month!” Perfect. Just perfect. Then I unwrapped a flamingo bulletin board. Maggie remembered that I like flamingoes one day when she saw the board at a yard sale.
We caught up. She and her husband have been through a really hard time for over a year, with Jim in treatment for cancer. When I learned that he likes peaches (and Maggie doesn’t), I sent her home with four China White peaches that my son brought from Pratt’s Orchard the first of the week.
I couldn’t say how many subjects we touched on, but the time together was therapeutic. How fortunate that I was “in” for the day–for the celebration!
Day 6–today–held two commitments, a dermatologist appointment for Dad and a piano lesson for Carly. I awoke early, my hands and feet itching, and a bit nauseated. 4:00 A.M. I went to sit in my regular reclining spot on the couch. I read a while, dozed a while. I planned to get out early to wet down the gardens in the back. Dave generously took care of all the pots last night since I planned to leave at 9:00 A.M. for the physician appointment.
Mom volunteered to cook a pork roast for lunch, so I knew I would not cook today. After physical therapy with Murphy, I doused the butterfly garden, the mini-rose and herb site, and set the system for the large corner garden. I came inside to make a proposal to Dave.
“How about if you take Dad to see Dr. Jacobsen, and I’ll finish your watering out front?”
I didn’t have to ask twice. Dave sees Dr. Jacobsen, too, so he could be good help to Dad. And I could take my time, run in and out to finish making fake rain, and harvest anything that was ripe in the vegetable garden.
I brought in cherry tomatoes (dozens and dozens), Asian eggplant, okra, and three kinds of peppers. And one large tomato. Just one ripe big tomato. Vicky drove up outside The Cellar door. We talked “first day of school,” just a half-day, and decided she would call after lunch so that we could settle on a time for the piano lesson. I convinced her to take eggs, peppers and cherry tomatoes. She collected a huge watermelon that Dad saved for the family.
I took the okra next door to ask Mom if she thought it was still good. Okra gets tough when it gets big, and the okra hadn’t been cut for days.
“It looks fine. Now, if that were regular old green okra, we wouldn’t be able to use it.” Our okra is purple. Dad said he couldn’t find any regular old green okra seeds this year. I’m glad he didn’t.
“Are you okay?” Mom asked.
“I don’t know,” I said. “My hands and feet are itching so bad.”
“There’s some Benadryl in my bedroom.”
“I don’t want to be sleepy.”
“Why not? You don’t have to do another thing today.”
“You’ll be able to take a nap before she gets here. I’ll cook that okra tomorrow.”
“I think it better be cooked today. I’ll cook it.”
I managed to fry okra and slice some tomatoes, but after lunch (very outstanding!), I hit the couch. Vicky called at 1:30 to say the kids were both ready to stay at home, just a little frazzled from first-day nerves. I went back to sleep and woke myself snoring.
Back downstairs, I watched Gordo and Tiny graze. I caught Gordo on camera. I’ll have to show the pictures later because some technical mishap doesn’t allow for an upload.
Now that I’ve recounted most of the excitement from today, I wonder if I’ve just had a boring day and don’t know it. I know I’m happy with it.